Exposure to Difficult Situations
The more fears I look at in the face, the more they leave without a
Over time, people with anxiety can develop agoraphobia and begin limiting
daily activities to avoid experiencing panic when they are not in a “safe”
place. People who appear to have mastered anxiety attacks, only to have
them return later, never fully recovered in the first place. When panic
decreases, do not become complacent! Use the following Exposure Chart
to see if you are avoiding difficult situations. Then, choose a circumstance
that causes you minimal distress. Practice exposing yourself to it with one of
the methods below until you are comfortable. Let your symptoms know you
intend to wait for them to pass.
POINTERS FOR EXPOSURE
Directions: Begin to eradicate panic attacks from your life by identifying
situations that you avoid. Rate the degree to which you avoid each item (0
= not at all, 10 = completely). Add any other situations not listed.
Systematically expose yourself to situations with a rating of 5 points or less
until they are no longer a problem. Then continue to decrease anxiety in
other difficult situations through exposure.
Situations I Avoid
The retreat/repeat method of exposure is further described in Simple,
Effective Treatment of Agoraphobia by Claire Weekes (Bantam, 1979).
Some of the items for this exposure chart were taken from Don’t Panic by R.
Reid Wilson (Harper & Row, 1986) p.30